Assessments need fixing

Letter-writers says a better system needed for house assessments

Re: Property tax bump hard to swallow (Letters, June 18)

I feel the writer’s pain. I too live in Victoria West, and my property tax climbed 9.8 per cent this year.

Of some two dozen houses sold in Vic West in 2013, four were sold for an average 22 per cent more than their assessments.

Apparently those four had been assessed too low; I should like to have seen their assessments lifted to their sale prices and the rest of us left alone.

Under standard assessment methodology, however, the four exceptionals inflated the average market value of the two dozen sold, and thus the assessments of all the houses in Vic West.

That is all right to a point, but I can’t afford to see it recur. When buyers pay more than assessed value, it usually means there is a suite or extension the assessors didn’t know about, or that the property has been adapted for a business use.

My concern is that the city, perhaps in a bid to create more rental housing and encourage small business, has become too lax with bylaw enforcement.

This is how good intentions can yield bad results, at the expense of neighbourhoods like Vic West which are diverse, tolerant, and not so likely to push back.

An antidote is to voluntarily disclose to B.C. Assessment the income-producing uses of our homes, so that they can make assessments that jibe with market value.

David Bodenberg, Victoria